The Art of Staying Safe on the Job

July 01, 2013

On March 14, reporters, agency and legislative officials, proud parents and youth filled the State House Members Lounge, eager to meet the winners of the 3rd annual Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest. MassCOSH youth leader Justin DeMarco, who emceed the event with Jariel Soto, pointed to the innovative posters throughout the room and noted the shared mission of the contest and the event participants: “We all want to make sure teens can go to work and return home safe.”
Cameras flashed and applause rang out, as Jocelyn Jones of the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division and the emcees presented 16 year-old Shari Coté with the first prize award.
“This poster contest gives teenagers a chance to contribute to the state and other teens by sharing an important message,” Coté said. “I hope teenagers will learn that they should feel safe everywhere, and if there are any problems or dangers where they work, they should speak up about them.”
Co-sponsored by MA Departments of Public Health, Education, Labor Standards, Industrial Accidents, the Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth Corporation, U.S. Department of Labor and MassCOSH, the winning poster will soon be seen on MBTA transportation vehicles. This year, a record 170 teens participated in the contest, and 60 youth served as judges.
According to the latest Mass. Department of Public Health data, Massachusetts teens average nearly 700 work-related emergency room visits each year. These injuries can range from cuts and sprains, to more serious punctures and falls that sadly have resulted in deaths for these very young workers.
To help reduce the number of young people injured on the job, the Safe Jobs for Youth poster contest borrows from TL@W philosophy that the best people to reach out and engage teens on this issue are teens themselves. The poster contest is open to any Massachusetts teen, with the only requirement being that the poster message encourage or raise awareness for young worker safety.
This year, second place went to Chiara Lowell of Lowell and third place to Victoria Hamilton of Holbrook, who took home prizes of $300 and $100 respectively. Joe Hazelton, 15 of Arlington; Dustin Sampson, 18 of Worcester, Alisa Partlan, 18 of Waltham, Spencer Travis, 16, Adrienne Kelley, 16 and Tianah Holmes,15 all of Taunton, Susane Rijos, 16 of Springfield and Alina Galindo, 16 of Somerville won honorable mention.
Secretary of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne F. Goldstein and Deputy Commissioner at Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Alan Ingram commented on the states talented youth and stressed everyone’s role in helping to protect young workers on the job.
“I want to congratulate Shari Coté and the other winners who have put their creativity and talent to use for the important goal of keeping young workers safe on the job,” said Secretary Goldstein. “We have strong laws in the Commonwealth to keep all workers safe on the job, and the Safe Jobs for Youth Poster Contest helps provide us with more opportunities to reach teens. Education and awareness are key to making sure younger workers, new to the workplace, know of their rights and stand up to insure their enforcement.”
Let us know when you see Safe Jobs for Youth poster on the MBTA! Snap a picture of it with your phone and upload it to and tell us where you saw it!